The little grebe

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A little grebe is seen cruising on a pond in Honghu Park in Luohu District on April 17, 2021. 

The little grebe

One of the coolest resident species we can enjoy year-round in Shenzhen is the fascinating little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis). About 28centimeters in length, this fluffy water bird is a delight to observe, especially when diving from their position on the surface of the water,and then disappearing for a few seconds just to reemerge with a delicious meal in their beaks.


A little grebe is seen cruising with a shrimp in beak in Honghu Park in Luohu District on April 17, 2021.

Little grebes have a black or dark brown cap that covers the forehead, the eye and the chin, which contrasts with a striking redbrown coloration on the cheeks and the rest of the face. The base of the beak has a yellowish patch and the beak is black with a yellow tip. The plumage covering the body mixes different tones of brown, making them easy to spoton the water. Males and females look very similar, but young birds can be paler in color.


Two little grebes are seen cruising on a pond in Honghu Park in Luohu District on Oct. 24, 2021. 

This beautiful species is easy to find all over Shenzhen in parks where there is a lake orpond, where the birds float on the water and frequently diveto catch small fish, shrimp, insects, larvae or even a frog. Little grebes are seldom seen flying and when they do, it looks like they’re walking over the surface of the water.


Their breeding season is variable, depending on the availability of resources and the water level of the places they inhabit. They can lay up to five eggs and the incubation period will last for at least three weeks. Little grebe babies have beautiful stripes on their face and will hop onto their parent’s back to be carried for a while, which is a beautiful scene to witness.


A little grebe is seen gobbling down fish in Honghu Park in Luohu District on Dec. 29, 2021.

Although it’s not an endangered species, it is importantto wakenpublic awareness about the conservation of this fantastic animal, because it plays an important role in the dynamics of the ecosystem and is apart of our amazingbiodiversity.